A brief non-sports note this evening – indulge me for a moment.
My favorite band, Barenaked Ladies, sings songs about the following things:
- Kobe beef
- being a vegetarian
- The X-Files
- Quebec separatism
- a bank heist by men dressed up as nuns
- raps about the Binghamton cabbies (who are very rap worthy, let me tell you)
Pretty geeky things, huh? Not like your typical rock/pop bands. All the band members are in their late thirties, early forties. They all have a number of children (one band member was quoted as of late saying that the number of children outnumbers the number of band members 3 to 1) and just released a children’s album. They seem pretty low key, definitely intelligent, probably responsible, and the last people you would see arrested for anything.
I’ve been listening to this band since I was twelve. I’ve seen them fourteen times in concert since the age of sixteen. I’ve traveled far and wide to see them. They could do no wrong in my book. Why, just the other day, I was moved to write a review on iTunes of their breakthrough album, which is celebrating their tenth anniversary this summer. I called it the “definitive pop album of 1998, if not the 1990s.”
Sure, all bands have their problems. Artists are always conflicted sorts, and unfortunately, this often manifests themselves in drug abuse or alcoholism, obsessive compulsive behaviors, or anxiety and depression. But I thought my favorite band, even though one of its lead singers, Steven Page, battled these sorts of things in the early to mid 1990s, had jumped above the fray of this sort of behavior.
And then I’m reading Perez Hilton this evening before launching into the pile of work I brought home. And there it is.
Page was found with cocaine outside of Syracuse (Rochester’s neighbor to the East.) He was found with two women my age, neither of whom were his wife, or his kids, or his bandmates.
Sure, we won’t ever know the whole story, and his manager is already out denying the whole sha-bang, but it’s too late for me. Even if the drugs weren’t his, why did he put himself in such a situation? How sad, that after everything this guy has accomplished (heck, besides the whole musician thing, he is a trusted panelist and contributor on issues of copyright in Canada, and I even tried to get him to speak during the copyright and intellectual property series my students and I organized in the spring), he had to go be found with cocaine. This will seriously screw up his being able to perform in the US for a long, long time. For such an awesomely talented and intelligent person to be caught up in this type of behavior is so disappointing. What could this mean for the band as a whole? How do you finish promoting a children’s album with your lead singer in court on charges of possession of cocaine?
So, Steven Page, thanks for crushing my faith in your recovery from your past demons, and thanks for crushing my belief that you were a smart guy. And sure, you might think the “man” caught you, and that it’s not that big of a deal, or maybe the drugs weren’t yours, but you put yourself in the situation. Just like my colleagues and I tell our students, when in a questionable situation, ask yourself if your parents, your family, your future kids, would want to see you in that situation. If the answer is no, than you shouldn’t be there. Even if the drugs weren’t his, he so should have known better not to be there. Especially as the father of young children, he should know that his actions no longer affect just himself. They affect his family, his wife, and his bandmates.
To say I’m disappointed in this turn of events is a complete and total understatement. I hope Page gets the help he needs, but most of all, I hope he realizes the magnitude of his mistake.*The title of this post is from the Barenaked Ladies song, “Everything Had Changed,” off of Barenaked Ladies are Me, released in 2006. After reading the lyrics again, I’m not wondering if Page’s situation was inevitable.